Thursday, August 12, 2010

We Feel Like We Won the Lottery

WOW! What a week! We found out that we have been awarded FIVE grants totaling $156,000. We are always applying for grants since we operate on a very tight budget, especially during these hard economic times. This week, we really lucked out.

HVAC Repairs - $136,000. If you use the Library, you know all the problems we have had with our antiquated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC). We knew there was federal stimulus money available for energy conservation, administered through the Mississippi Development Authority. The City of Natchez owns our building, but it could not apply for this particular grant because they had already applied (and received) one. Fortunately, Adams County agreed to apply for the grant on our behalf. We haven't even been officially notified yet, so we don’t know when the work will begin or how long it will take, but we will keep you updated. We are just thrilled to know we will soon be able to offer a comfortable environment to our patrons - not to mention our staff, computers, and books. (See the article in the Natchez Democrat.)

New Teen Room - $11,000. We are soon going to have the best Teen Room imaginable that may become the most popular place in town for local teenagers. Since more and more reference materials are becoming available online, we decided that we no longer need a room dedicated to reference materials. So that room will be transformed into the Teen Room, with new paint and cool furnishings. Books and other materials appropriate to teenagers will be shelved there, of course. There will also a TV that can be used to play WII games or watch movies, a computer, a craft area, and other enticements. For teens in our community, the Library will soon be equal to Fun! We hope for a grand opening in October.

Breaking News - $3,000  Right now the library subscribes to several print newspapers. Some popular out of town newspapers are either unavailable or arrive late. Most newspapers are also available online in a format that looks just like a regular newspaper. We are purchasing two special touch screen computers for the Dr Clifford Tillman Memorial Reading Room that will be for newspapers only. It may take some getting used to, but staff will be available to help and there are added benefits, such as accessing older issues and searching for certain topics. We will continue to subscribe to all print newspapers except the New York Times, which arrives a week late by mail and is costly. We will also be able to provide the Baton Rouge Advocate online, which was not available for delivery in our area.

New DVDs - $3,000  Video cassettes are outmoded now, so we have started ordering movies on DVD/Blue Ray. But it is expensive to build up a collection, and this grant will help us to get a jump start.

Time and Print Management Software - $3,000 We installed this software in the Armstrong Library, and it allows us to efficiently manage use and printing on our public computers. This grant will allow us to also provide this software to our branch libraries in Wilkinson County.

The last four grants are funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and administered by the Mississippi Library Commission.

More to Come  We are currently seeking proposals to complete the exterior repairs and painting our building so desperately needs. So soon your Library will look pretty again!

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